A concrete barrier in front of Town Plaza on Camino del Rio in Durango was taken down Tuesday after crews completed a raised median and turning lane for a new hotel.
The median provides a dedicated left turn for northbound traffic into a new hotel under construction at 1111 Camino del Rio. The Colorado Department of Transportation required the hotel’s developer to construct the median to provide safer access to the hotel, said Lisa Schwantes, spokeswoman for CDOT.
“That center lane in front of Town Plaza was kind of a free-for-all,” Schwantes said. The concrete barrier was put in place to protect the construction workers.
A few plastic, water-filled barriers were expected to be removed with a forklift at 9 a.m. Wednesday. Southbound traffic will continue to be narrowed to one lane through next week while a curb and gutter are completed in front of the new hotel.
“Then traffic will resume to two lanes on each side,” Schwantes said.
Frustrations about the bottleneck in traffic on the busy corridor surfaced in Durango soon after the concrete barriers were constructed. Schwantes said the project also saw two significant delays that propelled the project into the height of tourist season: once when the contractor could not obtain the necessary equipment, and again when the project shut down for 2½ weeks for a COVID-19 outbreak.
With people turning in and out of the various driveways on Camino del Rio for the Town Plaza or Natural Grocers, Schwantes said the new striping for a dedicated turning lane will make the narrow corridor a safer place to drive for hotel customers from out of town.
“We appreciate everyone’s patience, we know it’s been frustrating,” she said.
CDOT plans to add an additional light in the area “sometime down the line,” Schwantes said.